Wootton Wawen derives its unusual name from the Saxon lord Wagen and his ‘wudutun’ or ‘woodland village’. And here you’ll find Warwickshire’s oldest church, St Peter’s, which dates back at least to the 900s. Inside, The Saxon Sanctuary exhibition traces the story of the settlement, of Roman occupation, monasteries and mysteries like Puck’s Dyke.
Maybe lunch in a pub then follow the canal – it leaps on a cast iron aqueduct over the main road – to Wilmcote and the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden. Experience 16th-century life on the farm here and see a variety of rare breeds. See accommodation near Wootton Wawen.
Go behind the scenes of a defining moment in history at Coughton Court, home of the Throckmortons since 1409. Members of this old, Catholic family were among conspirators in the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and features like the priest’s hole bear testament to the bravery of the Throckmortons’ beliefs during a dangerous age. The story of personalities who helped to bring about Catholic emancipation can also be followed through the ‘family album’ of portraits and treasures around this fine Tudor house. Highlight of the award-winning gardens is the walled garden brimming with roses and herbaceous plants.
Few historic mansions undergo such an unusual transformation as Compton Verney: from a derelict Georgian home into an inspirational gallery of international standing. Combine a look around restored Grade 1-listed buildings and new spaces, as you browse the diverse art collections. And do enjoy the Grade 2*-listed classical park landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. Sweeping grassland, ornamental lakes and Cedars of Lebanon offer the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Pick up a grounds leaflet or borrow an audio tour from the Ticket Desk to learn more about the park’s hidden stories and history.
Enjoy a gentle outing along the course of an old railway line, now a dedicated traffic-free cyclepath/footpath. With no hills to climb, the Stratford Greenway to the village of Long Marston (5 miles there, 5 miles back) suits all ages. Set yourself up with refreshments at the start, at the Carriages Cafe at Seven Meadows Car Park on the edge of Stratford-upon-Avon, and maybe pause halfway at the picnic benches at Milcote Car Park.
Alcester was a Roman town and has been the subject of numerous archaeological digs: find out more in the fine heritage centre. Medieval buildings and street patterns remain part of today's vibrant market town, which is famous for its summer in bloom – bring your camera. This 7-mile walk sets the town into its surrounding environment with the gently flowing River Arrow and villages of Exhall, Wixford and Oversley Green.
It is claimed that William Shakespeare’s parents held their wedding breakfast in this flagstoned Tudor pub following their marriage in the village church in 1557. We serve beers from the nearby Purity Brewery as well as award-winning British modern food, including a fresh fish daily specials menu and our famous Duck Suppers. Featured in The Good Pub Guide 2011 and Michelin’s Eating Out in Pubs Guide 2011.
Indulge in traditional elegance combined with modern luxury at this hotel, country club and spa, a superb venue for 4-star breaks, conferences, weddings and civil ceremonies. The emphasis is on relaxation, whether you are dining in the Lodge Restaurant (AA 1 rosette) overlooking the lake, or taking afternoon tea in the beautiful Oak Room.
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